Djenne is a town in central Mali. The history of Djenne is closely linked with that of Timbuktu. Many goods such as salt, gold and slaves that came in and out of Timbuktu, between the 15th and 17th centuries, also passed through Djenne. Djenne prospered from this trade and when trading receded to the coast, the community’s wealth declined.
In the 1900’s, after much excavating, it was determined Djenne was first settled around 200BC, one of the oldest known towns in sub-Saharan Africa. Djenne is famous for its Sundanese-style architecture, where most of the buildings throughout the town are made from sun baked earthen bricks that are coated in plaster.
Not only are the dwellings made from clay, but sculptures and utility objects as well. Large clay urns, used for food and water storage or human burial, are highly prized among art collectors. Some of these vessels are quite plain, while others have beautiful intricate carvings.